Fellows Class of 2013
Nancy Frausto is the Diocese of Los Angeles’ first Latina leader to have grown up in a Spanish speaking Episcopal Church who has gone on to pursue ordination. Receiving the 2013 Fellowship is enabling Nancy to serve as part-time priest at St. Mary’s Koreatown and Trinity Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Los Angeles.
Nancy’s experience and passion for the ministry of ‘scrappy churches’ (her affectionate term for struggling congregations) has led her to a new project to develop a model for collaborative ministry between St. Mary’s Parish in the Koreatown neighborhood west of downtown Los Angeles and Trinity Parish in East Hollywood. Ideally, this collaboration will preserve the strength and specificity of each congregation’s witness, while sharing resources to better serve a common geographical area of ministry.
In her application to the Fellowship Partners Program, Nancy noted that “due to financial reasons, Trinity has been without a rector since June 2012. The lack of a rector has led the laity to band together and they have managed to keep their parish alive. As part of my proposal and with the help of the Rev. Anna Olson, I want to be part of that endeavor. Trinity has a rich history of reaching out and embracing those on the margins and it is unfortunate that due to a failing economy a church with so much to offer can be on the brink of shutting down.” The lay leadership has identified as their top priority maintaining their ministry in their current location with continued lay leadership supported by a more limited and defined pastoral role for a part-time priest. Nancy’s receiving the Fellowship Partners Program grant has allowed her to take on that role.
In May 2013, Nancy completed her Diploma in Theology from Bloy House and was the recipient of the Thomas Crammer Scholarship for Distinguished Achievement in Liturgical Scholarship. A few days later she received her Master of Divinity from the School of Theology at Claremont.
Nancy is the 2013 ECF Board Fellow.
P. Joshua Griffen
Griff is a doctoral student in Sociocultural Anthropology at the University of Washington, and serves as a priest associate of St. David of Wales Episcopal Church in Portland, OR. His coursework focuses on environmental anthropology, political ecology, environmental justice, social movements, and climate change. Griff’s Fellowship will support his dissertation research, a multi-sited approach to the lived experience of climate change.
Over the next two years of Griff’s dissertation research, Griff will accompany climate scientists, geologists, and oceanographers into the field, studying the ways in which they measure and understand climate change. He will also interview climate justice activists and organizers across the United States about their ‘theory of change.” Finally, Griff will continue his work in collaboration with the Iñupiaq community of Kivalina off the Northwest Coast of Alaska. Home to Kivalina Episcopal Church (Diocese of Alaska), this village of 400 persons is one of a dozen culturally distinct Native communities in the region now facing an existential threat from the impacts of global warming. Global warming has led to increasing flooding, rapid erosion, and destructive tidal surge on Kivalina, and so Griff will be working collaboratively to write an environmental history of the village as they undergo the complex challenge of relocating.
Griff notes “Even within the Episcopal Church, environmental risks and benefits are experienced differently across differences of race, culture, and social class. For some of us, climate change seems far off – something we fear for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Yet for others, climatic risk is already the context for daily life and worship.”
From 2009-2011, Griff served as Environmental Justice Missioner for the Diocese of California, where he co-founded the Free Farm, created the Episcopal Community Services' Sanctuary Shelter Garden in San Francisco, and organized the Episcopal-Anglican Climate Justice Gathering in the Dominican Republic.
Edmund has a passion for calling the Episcopal Church beyond its walls and into deeper engagement with the outside community and world. The ECF Fellowship is enabling him to develop a program in the Diocese of Rhode Island called Church Beyond the Walls.
In 2010, Edmund became Assistant to the Rector at Church of the Epiphany in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2011, at the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement, he and several parishioners from Epiphany began to explore what it would look like to be church outside their buildings, sharing faith convictions with people besides fellow churchgoers on Sunday. In his application he notes that “Together with occupiers, street people, and other guests, we began gathering each Sunday to proclaim the Gospel together, pray and encounter Jesus in the breaking of bread as well as in one another. Emboldened by these experiences, on Ash Wednesday, we offered ashes and prayer for people in bus depots, commuter stations, and on the street in our local communities.” This four month period of exploration ultimately led to Edmund taking on a new role at Epiphany, that of lead organizer for an initiative they are calling Church Beyond the Walls (CBW).
In his application to the Fellowship Partners Program, Edmund noted that the Episcopal Church has been a formative institution throughout his life. While in high school, Edmund won a diocesan scholarship to attend a summer youth course at St. George’s College in Jerusalem. Later, while at the University of Virginia, he’d return to Jerusalem to participate in an Ecumenical Forum for Young Theologians. Later, while at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, Edmund traveled to South Africa to serve in a monastic community addressing issues of poverty and HIV/AIDS. He would later move to Boston to live and work in a church-based program providing academic support to students and families from underserved neighborhoods.
Edmund is the 2013 ECF Board Alumni Fellow.
As a former Baptist minister with significant experience and passion for serving minority populations, Eric has been empowered to develop a grassroots ministry at St. James Episcopal Church in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, which will be “from the community and for the community.”
In 2008, the members of St. James chose to leave the Diocese of Pittsburgh and nearly three years later, when they voluntarily moved to a new location, then-Bishop Kenneth L. Price immediately committed to rebuilding an Episcopal Church congregation at St. James. Eric believes that St. James has been given a unique opportunity to start all over again, and sees the largely minority community surrounding St. James as a ripe mission field for the Episcopal Church. “St. James is uniquely located where a Christ-centered ministry could have great impact for the Kingdom of God and positive change for the community.”
As a candidate in the Episcopal Church’s ordination process, Eric brings more than twenty years of past ministry experience in evangelical traditions. This focus on evangelism has led him to create “servant evangelism projects” aimed at reducing Episcopalians’ anxiety around sharing their faith with others. This focus and passion for evangelism will serve him well as he begins to form the core leadership team for St. James in Penn Hills.
Eric also presently serves on the Spiritual Leaders Caucus and the Gun Violence Task Force of the Pennsylvania Inner-faith Impact Network (PIIN). There, he serves with an ecumenical group to engage local government, multi-faith congregations, the local police and community to address social justice issues as well as the gun violence problem that plagues Pittsburgh’s inner city communities.
In September 2014, as part of his ECF Fellowship, Eric led a webinar entitled "Evangelism: Mission Impossible?", a recording of which can be found here.
Eric is the 2013 Mills-Washington Fellow.
Albert R. Rodriguez
The ECF Fellowship is enabling the Rev. Al Rodriguez to develop a ministry program primarily aimed at incorporating American-born Latinos into the Episcopal Church.
American-born Latinos constitute approximately 65% of the Latino population in the United States, yet traditional Hispanic ministries have tended to focus exclusively on the first-generation, immigrant experience. Assimilated and bicultural Latinos, many of whom have lived in the U.S. for generations, are not on the evangelistic radar of most English-speaking congregations and diocesan offices.
The American Latino Outreach (ALEO) project, which Al is developing, will provide training modules, how-to-resources, and worship models aimed at increasing the cross-cultural competence of seminarians and clergy called to this emerging ministry. ALEO aims to demonstrate that a hands-on, evangelistic campaign focused on English dominant Latinos is dependent more on knowing worship preference and their bicultural and bilingual characteristics, than on the ability to minister and officiate liturgically in fluent Spanish.
Al’s 25 years of working in traditional Hispanic ministry and his experience as a Mexican American rector guiding a dual-language parish have given him the background for initiating this vital, but missing plank in Latino ministry.
In March 2014, as part of his ECF Fellowship, Al led an ECF webinar "Reaching the American Born Latino", a recording of which can be found here.
Jesse is a priest in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and a doctoral student at Cambridge University. He was awarded an ECF Fellowship to continue his research on the growth and development of Christianity among the Dinka people in southern Sudan during a civil war that lasted from 1983 to 2005. Jesse’s work explores the impact of war on the church and the ways in which the church can be an agent of poverty-alleviation and reconstruction in post-conflict societies.
Despite all odds, the Episcopal Church of the Sudan (ECS) is a thriving Church and the Dinka are among the most Christian peoples in Sudan. Jesse notes that his initial research and fieldwork suggests that the explanation for this lies outside the country, particularly in the refugee camps that sheltered the Lost Boys and other Sudanese during the lengthy civil war. “When they arrived in these camps, few Lost Boys were educated and hardly any were Christian. By the time they began returning home, many were ordained leaders in ECS and all had been educated in the schools in the camps. Now, these former refugees are the backbone of leadership in ECS, and are leading its work of poverty alleviation and development around the country. The church, which was once a small, largely insignificant organization, is now essentially the largest non-governmental organization in South Sudan.”
Jesse believes that the growth of the church in the non-western world is one of the most exciting developments in the church today. Given that, he will continue to help future church leaders in the United States learn more about the growth of Christianity around the world. Jesse is the author of Grace at the Garbage Dump: Making Sense of Mission in the Twenty-First Century and the forthcoming book Backpacking Through the Anglican Communion: A Search for Unity.
In March 2014, as part of his Fellowship, Joseph led an ECF webinar entitled "Mission and Evangelism Lessons from South Sudan", a recording of which can be found here.